When we were getting our start building surfboards, especially in the first year or two, I tried to be a quiet sponge when I was at Waterman’s Guild. Greg Martz loves to tell stories and talk about building surfboards. It was so crucial to learn as much as I could from him, and the WG team… more detail than I had previously known existed in surfboard building. There are a number of reasons for this, but one that I’ve been thinking of very often, recently, is the value in learning the constraints. By understanding the glassing process, at each step, and having a foundational understanding of each process, it begins to frame in the constraints for how get creative without jumping off the tracks. Allow me to explain… in the early days, I would doodle ideas for colorways on paper or photoshop, with no concept for how easy or difficult executing those ideas would be. And like many crafts, some things look relatively easy, but are a nightmare to execute; while other things might look super difficult, but are relatively straight-forward to do. Learning a whole lot about surfboard building doesn’t mean that I could go in the lam room and replicate Greg or Chris’ laminating work, but it at least provides a framework to work within to try to come up with new things that those guys have never done before, or just simple variations of classic looks, to try to set our boards apart from the pack. Whatever the craft, if you want to get creative, learn as much as you can about the process, that way you can effectively bend the rules without creating loads of unnecessary headaches. You’ll be thankful you did, and so will the people you work with.